At 6:30 PM, Cat Power came on stage, and the audience was rather large, as it had started to gather for the very last shows of the festival. Cat Power has a very nice, relaxed and a somewhat hoarse-sounding voice, and she sang emotionally to her great songs. Her show was quite minimalistic, but the tunes in themselves carried the show. When Cat Power had finished, there was only two more shows that we wanted to see before the festival ended – Kendrick Lamar and Alicia Keys – and to prepare for those very last hours of music, we went to one of the food trolleys in Slottsskogen, and had some Asian food, this time some fresh noodle salads.
It is the third and final day of Way Out West, and even though an amount of tiredness has started to set in, we are still looking forward towards seeing the last artist’s shows. The first part of the day started with rain, and walking towards Slottsskogen, we crossed our fingers that the drizzle should stop or at least not turn into heavy rain. When we entered the area, we ate some tacos and hurried down to the Flamingo stage to see Swedish band Dungen perform. Dungen plays music influenced by folk music and psychedelic 1970s style music, but has expressly dissented to being labelled a Swedish progg band, as the band does not have a political message. Their performance was very energetic and fun, but we did not have time to see the full show, as Ravi Coltrane, the son of jazz legend John Coltrane, was performing at the same time. Ravi Coltrane’s jazz was speedy and up-beat, led by Ravi’s saxophone playing, and we really enjoyed it.
As the clock struck 7:40 PM, one of Sweden’s biggest and most well-liked pop artists Håkan Hellström entered the stage singing one of his many hit songs “Jag har varit i alla städer”, accompanied by the harmonica. The huge crowd joined in on the singing, knowing all the lyrics by heart, and Håkan Hellström declared that he was very happy to finally perform at Way Out West again after three years since the last time, and that he had gladly accepted, when he was asked just the week before the festival. Håkan Hellström is from Gothenburg and it is hard to think of anybody with such a loyal and big fanbase as he has, so the crowd was positively bursting with joy at every thing Håkan Hellström did. The repertoire consisted of most of his biggest hits as well as some songs from his latest album, such as “Det kommer aldrig vara över för mig“.
The second day of Way Out West began with – after starting up with a large lunch to refuel before another day full of concerts – watching Rodriguez perform. Before we got to his stage, we caught a glimpse of Giorgio Moroder, a legend within the field of electronic music. Even though it was bright daylight people were dancing to his 1980s sounding disco music quite fanatically. Rodriguez’ show, in contrast, felt very laid back and much calmer. The audience was big for an early afternoon show, and everybody was listening appreciatively to the songs.
The first day of the Way Out West festival has ended, and before we go to bed and get some much needed sleep before the next day kicks off, we wait around for a while and sum up the impressions from day 1. Entering the area in the afternoon, we got our first glimpses of the all the expectant people as they were queueing up to enter the festival area in Slottsskogen. People were laughing, talking upbeat about plans for the day, and looking large-eyed on all the decorations spread out over Slottsskogen, in the purple-yellowish colors of this year’s Way Out West. A couple of kids were playing agreeable street music with brass instruments, taking the opportunity to play for a large and openminded audience.
This day is a special day for Swedes interested in popular music: it is the first day of the annual music festival Way Out West, set in Slottsskogen in Gothenburg. The festival lasts for three days, and this year’s biggest names are Neil Young & Crazy Horse, Alicia Keys, Håkan Hellström and The Knife. The weather forecast predicts mixed weather, which we choose to see from a positive perspective – we will experience the festival in all kinds of weather.
As it was getting darker it felt like everybody started to realize that the hours left until the end of the festival were few and that one needed to fill them with as much as was humanly possible. We took this with a grain of salt and instead went to grab a bite to eat. This time it was time for some tofu wok, and for dessert typical sour rhubard-watermelon candy, eaten while walking towards the next band.
It is Saturday and the last day of the festival, which would feel quite sentimental in a way, if it wasn’t for the fatigue that sets in after several days of walking, talking, an overload of impressions and lack of sleep. Today features bands like Laleh, Miike Snow and Common. Popular American R’n’B artist Frank Ocean cancelled in the last minute due to voice problems, to many people’s disappointment. The night’s big finale will be Kraftwerk, and they have had 3D-glasses distributed in the festival entrance to everybody entering, making people speculate about what will happen.
We started the “night shift” with eating. The guy on the picture is probably frying some corncobs, but we decided for “Smålandsrulle” and falafel instead. The “Smålandsrulle” could boast with being test winner of the newspaper Metro’s festival food test, and it was good, however there is also a pancake stand in the festival area, and our next meal is going to be a savory one.
The second day of the festival got off to a bumpy start: heavy rain clouds drifted slowly over Gothenburg’s skies. Not letting this discourage us, we went to the festival area and saw the American band War on drugs play an excellent show, with good contact with the audience. The area was not as soggy as we had feared, since the arrangers had covered some areas, for example the ground in front of the scene where War on drugs was playing, with a sort of plastic floor. Still, we envied those of the festival-goers who came in wellingtons.